The decision was based on “limited evidence” showing the weed killer can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and lung cancer in humans, along with “convincing evidence” linking it to cancer in animals.
The IARC is considered the global gold standard for carcinogenicity studies, so its determination was of considerable importance. It’s also one of the five research agencies from which the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) — the California agency of environmental hazards — gets its reports to declare carcinogens under Prop 65.
Monsanto has vigorously pursued a retraction of the IARC’s damning report,3 to prevent California from pursuing a cancer warning on Roundup and other, newer weed killers in the pipeline, designed for use on the company’s latest genetically engineered (GE) crops.
Monsanto Forced to Put Cancer Warning on Roundup
Their efforts have so far failed, and Fresno County Superior Court Judge Kristi Kapetan recently struck another nail in the company’s coffin, striking down Monsanto’s attempt to overturn California’s 2015 ruling to require Prop 65 warnings on glyphosate.4,5,6
While Kapetan has yet to issue a formal decision on the matter, Monsanto says it will challenge the ruling, if upheld. As reported by LA Progressive:7
“California would be the first state to order this level of labeling if this decision by the California Carcinogen Identification Committee is sustained by further court action.
Monsanto previously sued the nation’s foremost agricultural producing state by filing court motions to the effect that California’s carcinogen committee … had illegally based their decision for mandatorily requiring the warnings on ‘erroneous’ findings by an international health organization …
Trenton Norris, Monsanto’s lawyer, argued in court Friday that the labels would result in irreparable and immediate negative fiscal effect for Monsanto, because millions of consumers [would] stop buying Roundup because of the labels.”
Roundup isn’t the only weed killer that would have to bear the Prop 65 warning label. Glyphosate is also found in Ortho Groundclear, KleenUp, Aquamaster, Sharpshooter, StartUp,Touchdown, Total Traxion, Vector and Vantage Plus Max II and others.
Cancer Warning Likely Boon to Cancer Patients Suing Monsanto
A Prop 65 cancer warning on Roundup would likely benefit those suing Monsanto claiming the weed killer caused or contributed to their or a loved one’s cancer. There are currently at least three dozen such cases pending. As noted by LA Progressive:8
“Jack McCall was an avocado and apple farmer with only 20 acres and he carried around a backpack with Roundup for 30 years, and then died of cancer in 2015.
His widow, Terri, strongly believes that any kind of warning about carcinogenicity would have prevented his entirely avoidable death. ‘I just don’t think my husband would have taken that risk if he had known,’ she stated.”
Following the court hearing, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental lawyer, gave a press conference, saying:9
“This [Prop 65] listing is not going to put [Monsanto] out of business. It’s just going to warn people before they use their product that this product might cause cancer, and you better limit your use to protect yourself and to protect your families.
It’s called a precautionary principle. Who wouldn’t want to know that? Why does this company not want these farm workers to know that this chemical may endanger them and may endanger their families?
Why did [Monsanto] hire these great lawyers to come here to shut California up and to stop California from protecting these people?”